Seoul, South Korea – The already awkward Olympics could soon get weird.
Forecasters say Tropical Storm Nepartak formed off the east coast of Japan and could hit Tokyo on Monday or Tuesday.
It is still too early to determine the exact course of the storm, but even an indirect hit could affect the Tokyo Games, especially water sports.
AccuWeather says that early signs suggest that Nepartak will make landfall as a tropical storm, although “the system has yet to reach hurricane strength when it hits the coast.”
The storm has forced Olympic organizers to reschedule rowing events from Monday to Sunday.
“Outdoor events will be at greatest risk, as heavy rain and strong winds can postpone,” AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda said in a statement.
“The biggest impact on the Games will obviously come from a direct hit on Tokyo, where most of the venues and events are located,” Sojda said. “However, even if the storm moves north or south of Tokyo, there are some locations located further away from the greater Tokyo metroplex that may still be affected.”
Weather has already been a factor, with athletes competing in the scorching heat. The day’s maximum temperature has reached 33 degree Celsius with strong humidity. Some analysts have said it could be one of the hottest summer sports on record.
A Russian archer fainted on Friday in the heat of Tokyo. Athletes and coaches have used cooling vests, fans and umbrellas to protect themselves.
The storm is just the latest challenge in what many have called the strangest Olympics ever.
The Games were delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The recent surge in cases in Tokyo has forced almost all events to be held without fans.
The Games require athletes, officials and journalists to be inside a tightly regulated protective bubble and are banned from moving around the city.
So far, 132 Olympic-related persons have tested positive for the virus.